Percent positive rate in North Carolina stays above 6% as metrics trend up

Percent positive rate in North Carolina stays above 6% as metrics trend up

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,094 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday-- a decrease in cases after Friday’s record high single-day increase in cases.

Health officials reported 2,908 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the highest single-day increase in cases since the beginning of the pandemic in March.

Sunday’s increase in cases was accompanied by another spike in completed tests, with 36,038 more tests reported. The percentage of positive tests decreased slightly to 6.2%.

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During a news conference on Thursday, NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said the percentage of positive tests had stabilized, but is much higher than it was in September -- and still higher than the benchmark of 5% or lower.

Currently, 1,147 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, with 96% of hospitals reporting. It’s another metric Cohen said had stabilized at a high level.

Dr. Cohen’s breakdown of COVID-19 trends:

  • People showing up to emergency room with COVID-19 symptoms: Decreasing, but elevated (early warning indicator)
  • New cases: Increasing
  • Percentage of positive tests: Level (sitting at 6%-7.5% but leaders want it closer to 5%)
  • Hospitalizations: Level

>> Have questions about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the Carolinas? We have an entire section dedicated to coverage of the outbreak -- CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

Note: The numbers we show you every day mean everything in how our community recovers from coronavirus -- both in terms of healthcare and the economy -- but they don’t mean much without the proper context and as much transparency as possible.

New cases vary day by day based on a lot of factors. That can include how long it takes to get results back, so a new case reported today can really be several days old.

The other big metric we watch is the percent of positive cases. This is data we can only get from the state because it’s not as simple as factoring a percent of new cases each day from the number of tests. That’s because test results take days and come from a variety of places.

What about closer to home?

As of Sunday afternoon, there were 36,311 cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) with 405 deaths due to COVID-19 reported among Mecklenburg County residents.

Highlights about the 35,332 COVID-19 cases reported in Mecklenburg County as of November 4, 2020 include:

  • About 3 in 4 reported cases were adults ages 20 to 59 years old.
  • About 1 in 4 reported cases are Hispanic – most of whom are younger adults. As previously noted, some factors influencing this trend include:
  • Targeted testing occurring in neighborhoods with lower access to care, some of which have larger Hispanic populations;
  • Higher proportions of Hispanics working in essential jobs that make social distancing difficult;
  • Significant household spread among large families; and
  • Pre-existing disparities in other social and economic determinants of health, like poverty.
  • About 1 in 20 reported cases were hospitalized due to their COVID-19 infection. While everyone is at risk for severe COVID-19 complications, reported cases who were older adults (≥ 60 years) were more likely to be hospitalized compared to younger individuals.
  • About 8 out of 10 have met CDC criteria to be released from isolation.
  • During the past week, an average of 216 laboratory-confirmed infections were reported compared to the 14-day average of 206 confirmed infections. This represents an increase over the last 14 days. These data are based on Mecklenburg resident cases reported to MCPH.
  • During the past week, an average of 134 individuals with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infections were hospitalized at acute care facilities in Mecklenburg County. This represents an increase over the last 14 days. These data are based on daily census counts from acute care facilities in Mecklenburg County reporting to MCPH.
  • During the past week, an average of 7.0 percent of individuals who were tested in Mecklenburg County were positive for COVID-19. This represents an increase in trends over the last 14 days. These data only include ELRs for molecular (PCR) tests submitted to NC DHHS for laboratories electronically submitting negative and positive COVID-19 results.
  • Four hundred-three deaths due to COVID-19 occurred among reported cases.
  • Almost all deaths were among older adults (≥ 60 years), 4 deaths occurred in adults ages 20 to 39 and 54 deaths were adults ages 40 to 59.
  • All deaths, except five, occurred among adults with underlying chronic illnesses.
  • More than half were non-Hispanic Whites. The disparity in COVID-19 deaths among non-Hispanic Whites is related to differences in race/ethnicity of residents of long-term care (LTC) facilities actively experiencing an outbreak.
  • More than half of deaths were connected to active outbreaks at long-term care (LTC) facilities.
  • Among deaths not connected to outbreaks at long-term care facilities, nearly 3 in 4 were non-White, with 40 percent being non-Hispanic Black. As previously noted, these disparities are largely driven by higher rates of underlying chronic conditions that increase the risk of severe complications due to COVID-19 infection among these communities
  • Based on publicly available mobility tracking data, social distancing slightly increased in Mecklenburg County over the last 14 days.